On Thursday I introduced the world to a new series; Devil’s Advocate, and I kick started it by looking at the negatives of gaming leaks – well it wouldn’t be much of a balanced argument if we ignored the good things that leaks do for the industry; now would it?
I hate leaks, they ruin surprises and make E3 a formality rather than the pinnacle of the gaming calendar. Yet after I had written my last post I got thinking about how they benefit the industry, and here is what I came up with.
They generate ‘buzz’ and excitement
Let’s be honest here, there were many of us who thought that the NX controller looked pretty shit – after all who in the hell wants a controller with no buttons?
Some people apparently! There were many, many people who felt that Nintendo had “done it again” with this controller.
And that’s the thing. We were all talking about it on twitter/facebook/whats app. Many gaming websites ran stories on the leaks complete with pictures, message boards sprang to life with people falling over themselves to complain/sing the praises of the controller design.
Everyone was talking about the Nintendo NX; there was marketing here that I haven’t seen Nintendo do in a long time! The people who liked the controller were super-excited about the NX, people were talking about pre-ordering the console – there was a buzz all over the internet and it was caused by three “leaked” pictures of a controller that wasn’t even on.
The best part is; by this stage the hype train has left the station and when they were shown to be fake there was another wave of excitement…
Leaks can create a second wave of excitement when proved fake #hypetrain!
…you didn’t like the way that leak looked?
NEVER FEAR IT WAS ALL BULLSHIT!
Now this item looks exactly the way you want it to; picture the perfect console/game for you, it COULD be that! Bloody brilliant! EPIC WIN!
And this win will stay a win until…
And a third wave when the game/console is actually announced!
…the device is announced and it’s not as you pictured it, but that’s ok because now we have some actual details and the excitement of a new game/console has swept over you. This is perhaps the strongest sense of euphoria during this whole process; remember how we knew about the PS4, then Sony came out after Microsoft and blew our socks off.
That’s a feeling that only the birth of your child can top!
The feeling of seeing that shitty leak way back when only makes you feel better about the real thing. The disappointment heightens the joy of the announcement – its simple physics guys, as Newton put it;
“every action has an equal but opposite reaction”
They draw the interest non-enthusiasts
Leaks are the industry’s way of creating gossip, and like all good gossip it spreads quickly and suddenly you have people, who have zero interest (usually) taking about the latest hot piece of goss!
This works for gaming in exactly the same way it works for a sex tape. It gets everywhere. Over the course of the last week I have had in-depth conversations with people who have no interest in gaming but have read about the NX controller or ‘Pokemon Go!’
Sure their enthusiasm and interest may be short-lived and they’ll play the game for a week. But Maybe, just maybe they fall in love with the game and become gamers because of it – this is how industries grow and how their influence becomes mainstream.
We should welcome anything that helps our hobby grow and keeps it going. Even leaks! ESPECIALLY leaks!
They can be used as market research
Now we are all internet savvy enough to know that not all of these leaks are done by accident. Many (unofficially of course) must be done as a way of gauging the public’s opinion on an untested/decided aspect of a game or console.
Think of any leak you have seen and disliked.
Think of any time you have went to Facebook/Twitter to voice that dislike and used a hashtag.
Think of anytime you have written a blog post/youtube video/talked about it in a live stream and used the leak name in your title or as a meta tag!
Congratulations, you have just participated in a pilot scheme and given the company your feedback. Now they can keep what people liked and get rid or modify what people hated. In a very real way leaks are a very safe method of gaining feedback on a product. Once you have what you need, you can say that the leak is all bollocks and no-one is none the wiser.
It means that everyone can be a winner, we get a product that is close to what we want and the company gets a product with their vision but with the features that will make it attractive to consumers.
There we have it guys, both sides of the coin!
On one hand leak are bloody shite, and on the other they are alright!
Which side of the coin are you on?
Why not leave a comment and get that conversation started!